story openings

First Pages: Tips to Avoid Cliches and Weak Writing

September 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.

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NaNo Prep: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story

October 31, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Tomorrow, thousands of writers will start their novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m not in a good spot in my writing project schedule to participate this year (*pout*), but I’m cheering from the sidelines. (I’m Jami Gold if anyone wants to buddy me.) On this occasion, I wanted to bring together several tips […]

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How to Find the Start of Our Story

September 3, 2013 Writing Stuff
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A lot goes into deciding how to begin our story. We have to introduce the characters, the story, and the setting. We have to make it interesting, not confusing, or not accidentally misleading. Etc., etc., etc. If we think about it too much, we might seize up and not write anything. The sight of that […]

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Book Series: Should We Include a Teaser Excerpt?

August 1, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Yesterday, Kristen Lamb ran an encore of one of my posts from last year on her blog. We both liked that post because it discusses the importance of leaving the reader room to use their imagination. In the post, I made an aside about the danger of including a teaser excerpt for the next book in […]

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A Prologue Will Help Our Story When…

July 25, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time we touched on beat sheets because of a guest post I wrote for one of my Blogiversary winners. Today we’re going to talk about a subject that came up with one of my other Blogiversary winners: prologues. Prologues are hated by many editors and agents. Surprisingly, I’ve heard from readers who say they […]

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What Soap Operas Can Teach Us about Writing

April 23, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I don’t watch soap operas, but a bizarre conversation tangent (in other words, a perfectly normal conversation for me) triggered my thoughts comparing soap operas to novels. On the surface, they seem very similar. They both have characters, tension, and conflict. However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw differences. And those […]

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Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson: Part One — Guest: Melinda Collins

September 4, 2012 Writing Stuff
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Whoo boy, do I have a treat for you today. The lovely Melinda Collins recently returned from an Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson, and she’s here today to share her experience. I’m playing this cool now, but it was a different story earlier. When I heard Melinda was going to a weekend-long writer’s retreat, […]

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3 Reasons to Love the Writing Community

June 12, 2012 Random Musings
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I’ve had a lot to be thankful for lately.  My family and I got away for a fun vacation, my klutziness didn’t result in too many injuries out in the middle of nowhere, and I survived being without internet access for much of the time. *smile* I was also reminded—again—how awesome the writing community is.  During […]

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Has Writing Made Your Life…Strange?

May 24, 2012 Writing Stuff
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We writers can be a strange lot.  We live in our heads, we talk to imaginary characters, we rejoice when we think of horrible things to do to said characters, and we plot out perfect crimes, alien invasions, and the end of the world. But even beyond all that, writing affects our life in other ways.  Maybe […]

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Pitch Prep: What Makes a Great First Page?

January 5, 2012 Writing Stuff
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It was a dark and stormy blog post.  *snicker* We’re continuing to prepare for the January 10-16th Pitch Your Shorts pitch session by tackling the issue of story openings.  (Check out Tuesday’s post for everything there is to know about pitching.) While the purpose of a pitch is to get a request, the purpose of a story’s […]

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